Over the last couple of months we’ve been looking at happiness, in the series, Happiness is Go!
In this post I’m going to summarise what we’ve discussed, to remind you of the five barriers that block all soft skills and the impact they have on our happiness.
If you’d like to read the previous episodes you’ll find them here:
Part 1. Introduction To Happiness Is Go!
Part 2. Get Out Of That Box
Part 3. Getting Happier Relationships
Part 4. Down With Being Down
Part 5.How To Build Structures For Freedom
Part 6.Get Creative…It’s Only Logical
In Part 1 we considered what happiness is and what soft skills have got to do with it. I shared one of my favourite definitions of happiness:
“Happiness is a deep sense of flourishing,
not a mere pleasurable feeling or fleeting emotion
but an optimal state of being.”
In Part 2 we began our exploration of the barriers, by looking at how we can get ‘boxed in’ by Backward Focus. This is the barrier that arises when we’re dominated by the past. It causes us to live our life according to another’s rules and criteria, rather than relying on our own experience and interpretation of the here and now. It damages our ability to lead ourselves and others.
“Care about other people’s opinion and you will be their prisoner.”
Tao Te Ching
The second barrier we considered was Inward Focus. This becomes a barrier when we are so caught up in ourselves that we can’t see things from any other perspective than our own. A lack of empathy limits our ability to communicate, to connect, to learn, or to establish meaningful relationships.
Never become so self-important that you can’t listen to other players.”
Next we looked at the trickiest of the barriers, Downward Focus. This covert, manipulative barrier acts likes a smiling mask; it hides problems and denies anything is wrong, while it gnaws away at our spirit and our potential. It confuses us and causes us to doubt ourselves.
“As soon as you trust yourself you will know how to live.”
The fourth barrier we examined was Right Focus. This is the one that can be most seductive, as it’s caused by our apparently benign imagination. But it wastes our time, and means that our ideas will never come to fruition and we’ll be unable to reach our goals. Without clear, effective structures we float through life, like a boat on a river without banks.
“Without structure, there is nothing for creativity to get leverage upon.”
The final barrier we looked at was the rigid one, Left Focus. This almost doesn’t seem like a barrier, as its form of logic is currently the most respected way of seeing life. The hardest part of overcoming it is to challenge its dominion. But unless we counteract it we’ll never be in balance, nor in tune with the way life actually is. And we’ll be incapable of dealing with uncertainty and rapid change in ways that can bring us happiness.
“We need fewer techies and more poets in our systems design shop.
And more artists…and more jazz musicians…and more dancers…period.
(Or, rather, consider that an action item).”
The Conclusion Of Happiness
So those are the five barriers that block all your soft skills, and limit your capacity for happiness.
When you break through these five barriers you will be living life with a balance that enables happiness.
This doesn’t mean that nothing will ever go wrong.
It doesn’t mean you’re guaranteed great wealth, fame, beauty and good luck!
It doesn’t mean you’ll have a permanent smile :)
It doesn’t promise the impossible.
When you break through the five barriers it means that you:
- are fully awake
- are in harmony with the way life actually is
- respond to everything that happens with equanimity
- fully appreciate the extraordinary experience of life
- make the most of your life
- are happy and “…in an optimal state of being.”
It also means that you can break through the sixth barrier. Yes, there is one more…and it’s the icing on the cake of life!
But more of that in future.
“People create barriers between each other…
When these barriers have been dissolved there arises one mind,
where they are all one unit,
but each person also retains his or her own individual awareness.”
I hope this series has given you happiness!
Let me know how your barrier-breaking and happiness-building is going :)
And if you’d like some additional reading to help you on your barrier-breaking way, remember you can pick up a copy of How To BreakThru the 5 Barriers To Happiness.
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